(Before worship ask a child to help you out at children’s sermon time. If you have an exercise ball, bring that to worship.) Call the children forward and have the child helping you come up where all can see him/her. Ask, “What are some things that you can do by yourself?” Accept all answers and if appropriate or feasible have the child act them out. Do maybe two or three things. Then ask, “what are some things that you need a friend to help you with?” (If they are stumped, offer like maybe balancing something or homework or a game, walking on a balance beam, etc) Say, “We need friends to help us don’t we? I have the exercise ball here. Do you think that (child’s name) can sit on it and raise their feet off the ground by themselves? Let’s try!” (It should be very difficult!) Say, “Who would like to help them to balance?” Let a couple of children help and try to balance. Have the children cheer each other on. Say, “We need each other don’t we? We need each other to keep from falling and we need each other to cheer us on!”
Say, “In today’s Bible story, Jesus is praying in the mountains and Peter and the disciples are in a boat in a storm. They are getting tossed about quite a bit. Then they see Jesus walking toward them on the water! What would you think about that? (Accept all answers) Peter wanted to go out to meet Jesus on the water. The other disciples stayed in the boat. Peter got out and got scared because, he WAS walking on water! Is that a common thing to do? But Jesus reached down and grabbed Peter, just like we helped (child’s name) balance on the ball. Jesus knows that we need other people to help us. They got into the boat and Peter and the other disciples worshiped Jesus. Peter helped the other disciples see that Jesus is God’s son who loves us, helps us and is always with us, even in stormy seas. The disciples needed Peter too!
How can we help each other see that God is always with us? (Accept all answers) Those are great ways! We can also help our family, friends at school and neighbors see Jesus helping them in their lives! Who helps you to know that Jesus is with you always? Yes, all of those people are important. Do you think that God created us all to help each other? Yes, I do!
Jesus promises to be with us always and to catch us when we fall. It doesn’t mean that we sometimes aren’t afraid but that Jesus is with us in our fear. Have a large poster board cross on a table with magazines, newspapers, scissors, glue and markers. Have people cut out of the newspapers/magazines where they pray for people to know that Jesus is with them. People can draw or write prayers as well. Leave the cross up for the next week or two so that during Open Space or worship station time, people can “pray the cross” for the world to know Jesus’ love and presence.
Jesus, you are with us in good times and in hard times. We know that your hand will catch us when we are falling, just like you caught Peter. May we also help each other and offer a hand to catch someone else when they need it. Amen.